Five mistakes that WCW made that AEW should avoid

AEW, Brian Cage (photo courtesy of AEW)
AEW, Brian Cage (photo courtesy of AEW) /

All Elite Wrestling has been around for only two years, and in that two years, this wrestling company has changed the landscape of professional wrestling. AEW is the first professional company since WCW to have the financial backing to compete with the WWE truly.

Since the beginning of AEW, many fans have compared AEW to WCW and ECW. The ECW comparisons come from AEW loyal fanbase, and the WCW comparisons come from the TNT television deal and billionaire owner. WCW made many mistakes back in the day that led to its demise. In this article, I will be discussing the five mistakes AEW should avoid that WCW made.

5. Too Many Stables

At the time of this writing, All Elite Wrestling has twelve stables in the company, and that is a high number for a company that has over 100 wrestlers signed. AEW has to be careful not to become a stable focus company as WCW did in the ’90s. The original NWO consisted of three members, Hogan, Hall, and Nash, but as time passed, more wrestlers began joining the notorious faction, and the storylines in WCW started to only focus on wrestlers joining the NWO because they were scared to stand up to the stable.

The NWO storyline got so ridiculous that WCW thought it was good to create the NW0 Wolfpack and the LWO for Latino wrestlers. Fans would eventually lose interest in the group because everything would become based around the group.

4. Pushing Older Stars

The use of older legends saw WCW hiring many wrestlers that made a name for themselves in WWE. Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Roddy Piper, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and the Ultimate Warrior were some stars that WCW decided to push over their own younger talent. Pushing older stars over younger stars is a mistake that WCW, TNA, and WWE have made. AEW must avoid this mistake because it could turn wrestling fans away.

When the original AEW Roster was announced, only four names would have stood out to casual viewers: Chris Jericho, Cody Rhodes, Dustin Rhodes, and Pac. Fast-forward to 2021, AEW has signed Mark Henry, Jon Moxley, Sting, Paul Wight, Christian Cage, Matt Hardy, Miro, FTR, Bryan Danielson, and CM Punk. Some of the names listed here are wrestlers who many thoughts would be in WWE for life, but things changed, and budget cuts were made.

The AEW roster is stacked from top to bottom. AEW must not forget about the younger wrestlers who helped put the company on the map, such as MJF, Darby Allin, and Orange Cassidy.

3. Taking Jabs at the Competition

Back during the Attitude Era, WCW was known for taking shots at WWE every week. WCW would even do what many fans considered one of the most disrespectful characters when WCW created an Oklahoma character to make fun of Jim Ross. During the Monday Night Wars, WCW would give away Raw results, which would eventually backfire against WCW when Tony Schiavone, who is now with AEW, took a shot at Mick Foley during an episode of Nitro, which would lead to many fans switching over to RAW to see Mick win the WWE championship.

AEW has recently been taking more shots at WWE on radio station interviews and social media, but it would be wise for AEW to focus on their company and not wake the giant up. AEW has become the most popular wrestling company globally and has won over every professional wrestling fan, but it would be dumb for them to take jabs at a wrestling company that had to compete with WCW and ECW during the height of professional wrestling.

2. Giving Creative control to top stars

One of the biggest problems WCW had was that the promotion guaranteed creative control to their top stars. Hulk Hogan had booking power in WCW that helped lead to the demise of WCW because he wouldn’t do what was right for business. For example, the NWO’s popularity in WCW got to a point where everything on WCW television had to involve the NOW, which is why when it came to Goldberg’s legendary undefeated streak Kevin Nash booked himself to be the one to defeat Goldberg, which was another huge mistake by WCW.

The 173-0 record Goldberg had was the hottest storyline in professional wrestling, and because of ego, it was taken away from the fans. WCW should have made sure Goldberg stayed undefeated until they built another star up that could have used that win to help push their career forward. AEW should never give any wrestler complete creative control because that could hurt the way fans view the company.

1. PPV quality matches wasted on Nitro

One of the most confusing booking decisions WCW consistently made was giving away PPV quality matches on free television. WCW was so focused on beating WWE in the ratings that they gave us big money matches for free. WCW had Starrcade, which was their version of WrestleMania, but looking at some of the Starrcade cards and storylines, you wouldn’t be able to tell that because WCW focused on Nitro shows than PPVs.

One of the dumbest decisions WCW made was booking Goldberg vs. Hollywood Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight title on an episode of Nitro inside a packed Georgia Dome. Goldberg had become a breakout star for WCW when WCW needed someone new to build the company around. Goldberg won the match and became the new World Heavyweight champion, but the match should have been the main event of Starrcade and helped make Starrcade feel like it could compete with WrestleMania.

Eric Bischoff’s booking decisions and Vince Russo’s creative writing ideas were not a good mix regarding what was suitable for WCW. AEW has been doing an excellent job of saving big matches for their PPV, but recently they seem to have a problem when it comes to making fans wait for big matches.

For example, Bryan Danielson and Kenny Omega wrestled each other in a time limit draw at the AEW Grand Slam episode of Dynamite, but that is a match that could have been the main event of a future AEW PPV. AEW has to be careful when pulling the trigger on big matches to get a good rating.